Tom Coronel concludes his 25th year in motor racing with seventh place in the final FIA WTCC standings.
Macau – Just like in previous years, the 2014 FIA WTCC season came to an end at the demanding Guia street circuit in Macau. At the six kilometres long narrow and twisty track, Dutch driver Tom Coronel celebrated the fact that it was his 25th season in motorsport. With his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze, sporting a special livery, Coronel showed a strong performance and managed to make it into the top 5 qualifying session for the second time this year.
After slightly clipping the wall, fifth place on the starting grid was all for Coronel. At the start of the first race, Coronel opted for the safe line to avoid any damage to his car. As a result, he lost two positions, but made it to the finish without a scratch on his car. After that seventh place in the first race, Coronel added an eighth-place finish in his final race of the season. Thus, the Dutchman came to a total of 159 points to end up seventh in the final World Touring Car Championship drivers' standings.
Tom Coronel will now be facing a challenging time as he is preparing for his return to the torturing Dakar rally. Just like his twin brother Tim, he will be driving a Buggy in the event. Tom's main duty is to provide daily reports about the achievements of the Dutch participants and other situations during the rally for Dutch TV show RTL GP. At the same time, Coronel is also preparing for the 2015 race season.
His first aim is participation in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. "I am now in my 25th year in motorsport and together with ROAL Motorsport, I have proven to be able of mouting a challenge to the works-teams. Therefore, plenty of reasons to look forward to next season in a positive way. With the many loyal sponsors I have at the moment, I really hope that I will manage to be racing a touring car at the highest level again in 2015. First negotiations are underway and things are looking quite good," Coronel says.
About the season-ending races at Macau, Tom Coronel commented: "It all went well and, in fact, even a little bit too well in qualifying. Of course, setting the fourth fastest time in a field like this is great, but it isn't that good for the starting grid positions. When you are a little bit further down on the grid for race one, you automatically are a bit further up to the front on the reversed grid for the second race. In order to shine at this circuit, you have to be further up to the front for one of the races, especially when there aren't too many strange things happening during the race. In third qualifying, I was fast, but I clipped the wall. Damage was minimal, but I didn't want to take any further risk. The team was happy with the performance and with the way things were going until then. In the first race, my start was quite good, but I was locked up alongside Yvan Muller and I had to back off, allowing him to get in front of me. Later on, he also made a mistake at Lisboa and made me lose some more time. After that, I was more or less on my own for the remainder of the race and I managed to bring the car home without any damage."
About race two, Coronel continues: "I didn't have a good start into race two and there was some contact with Loeb. These Citroëns really are fast. Chinese driver Ma, also with a Citroën, was right behind me. He mounted an attack and we hit each other. To still get that position, he tried to outbrake me where that was absolutely impossible and he went head-on into the tyre stacks at speed. After that, there was not so much left anymore for me to fight for. One of the Hondas still dropped back and I finished eighth. A seventh and an eight place reflect quite well where we were in this year's field. The world championship standings also show this. All in all, there is plenty of reason to be happy, especially when considering that we also were forced to miss races following that massive shunt on the first race weekend of the season. Moreover, I am happy that I was on the grid in 2014. Now, I will be working hard for next season!"
Result race 1: 1. José María López (Citroën C-Elysée) 10 laps in 24:50.183; 2. Norbert Michelisz +2.741; 3. Gabriele Tarquini +3.661; 4. Tiago Monteiro +4.055 (all Honda Civic WTCC); 5. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elyée) +4.589 and 7. Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +9.338.
Result race 2: 1. Rob Huff (Lada Granta 1.6 T) 11 laps in 28:21.086; 2. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée) +0.344 ; 3. Hugo Valente (Chevrolet Cruze) +3.352; 4. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) +3.990; 5. José María López (Citroën C-Elysée) +4.285 and 8. Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +6.615.
Final standings after 24 races: 1. José María López 462 points; 2. Yvan Muller 336; 3. Sébastien Loeb 295; 4. Norbert Michelisz 201; 5. Tiago Monteiro 186 and 7. Tom Coronel 159.